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Author Topic:   Transitional fossils and quote mining
Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 100 of 210 (525190)
09-22-2009 7:52 AM
Reply to: Message 98 by Dr Adequate
09-22-2009 7:35 AM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
ehh..how did you answer my question? I have read that already, and it doesn't say, hence why i asked.

This drivel of gross, stupid, clumsy lies does not so much constitute

Whatever Dr Adequate. You just keep dismissing stuff with no basis with the use of your favourite word: "lies". Great, really helpful (note the very sarcastic tone).

This message is a reply to:
 Message 98 by Dr Adequate, posted 09-22-2009 7:35 AM Dr Adequate has responded

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 108 of 210 (525283)
09-22-2009 8:09 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by greyseal
09-22-2009 7:28 AM

Re: To my numerous opponents
"devolution" is a made-up word without foundation.
of course it is a made up word. We had to make up some word so that we can distinguish ourselves from what evolutionists think these mechanisms show.

why would it make it worse? It only makes it worse IF "all mutations are harmful" and you're a hell of a long way from proving anything of the sort. Examples have been given of positive mutations (sickle-cell under some conditions, moth colouration and far, far more) so that part is bunk
It makes it worse because genomes are in a state of decay. Again see article for evidence (note to all the people who said "It's not YOUR article". I meant that i had posted the article.) Also sickle-cell is degenerative as well as beneficial (in some circumstances).

which basically says "all mutations are harmful" and I feel confident in saying that that page is dreck from top to bottom, full of outdated information, misquotes, mistakes and outright lies.

It is entirely science-free and really does little to bolster the opinion you would apparently like others to have of you of somebody who honestly looks at both sides of the issue.

You cannot refute it so you make some pointless remarks, and then tell me to go find an article that refutes what the author of the article I posted was saying. Sorry, that is your job.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by greyseal, posted 09-22-2009 7:28 AM greyseal has responded

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 109 of 210 (525284)
09-22-2009 8:13 PM
Reply to: Message 103 by greyseal
09-22-2009 10:54 AM

Re: To my numerous opponents
would be stupider now, and more full of things like cancer and deformities, than they were 6000 years ago.
and you are saying they aren't? Where is your evidence for this?

This message is a reply to:
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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 110 of 210 (525285)
09-22-2009 8:18 PM
Reply to: Message 104 by PaulK
09-22-2009 11:18 AM

Re: Lies, Damn Lies and Creationist Quote Mines
Clearly the creationist in question read it as an admission that there were no transitional fossils.
Again, which means what? It certainly was an admission that there are no directly transitional fossils. i.e. none where he feels that the evolutionary story told about the fossil can be said to necessarily be true.

This message is a reply to:
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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 113 of 210 (525312)
09-22-2009 9:47 PM
Reply to: Message 105 by Blue Jay
09-22-2009 12:20 PM

Re: To my numerous opponents
I recognize the enormity of the task you have ahead of you in this thread, with so many opponents, and I commend you for your intelligence and your good demeanor.

Thanks. hopefully i don't lose my good demeanor, it isn't easy.

Hmm... I really don't see how the "ToE" is the worldview as opposed to "evolution". To me it sounds similar to saying "the theory of gravity is my worldview". This doesn't make any sense. The theory of gravity may support your worldview, however it is not the worldview itself.

A mechanism is the ultimate explanation for any event
Exactly, a mechanism explains the event. We believe in the event and then explain it using evidence. The event comes first, and then it is explained. In other words the story of evolution comes first and then you try to support this with mechanisms. Yes, i think that things like the evolution of birds are soft core topics, however the idea "they must of evolved from something" is the hard-core topic. In other words The idea that everything evolved from something else is the hard-core idea. the ideas of how this works out for individual situations (such as the evolution of Birds through the mechanisms of the ToE) are then the soft-core issues.

The "opinions" for your example I think are hard-core ideas. Sort of like creation and evolution. The proponents of these opinions then have various evidence (soft-core) for why they think that their opinion is correct.

Arius very clearly stated that Jesus is not God the Father. Would I be within my rights to use this quote to support an argument that Jesus was not a real historical figure?
Sure, you are quoting an "expert (hmm...)". However what is the evidence behind him making statements like this. If the expert says something but doesn't back it up with evidence, then expert or not, his opinion becomes useless.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by Blue Jay, posted 09-22-2009 12:20 PM Blue Jay has responded

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 121 of 210 (525591)
09-23-2009 9:57 PM
Reply to: Message 120 by Blue Jay
09-23-2009 5:56 PM

Re: To my numerous opponents
I'll reply in detail to the other posts later but just want to quickly address something from bluejays post.

but I didn't say that ToE is the worldview. In fact, I affirmed "evolutionism" as the worldview.

Common descent (what you’ve termed “the idea that everything evolved from something else”) is more central to the “evolutionism” worldview than is the coelurosaurian ancestry of birds, but less central than the mechanisms of mutation and natural selection (the actual ToE).

So you are saying that ToE is closer to the "base of the tree" (using your diagram analogy) however your the first quote says that this is not the base. So what is your base? You see what i'm getting at? While the ToE is i agree important to "evolution", is it the base of the tree? And if a person takes out common descent but affirmed the ToE would that person still be an evolutionist?

Maybe you could give a definition of what you think "evolutionism" is.

Edited by Arphy, : No reason given.

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 124 of 210 (525637)
09-24-2009 4:07 AM
Reply to: Message 123 by Blue Jay
09-24-2009 1:19 AM

Re: To my numerous opponents
In reply to bluejay (sorry, this post gets a bit harsh on you) and the first part of Magda's post.

magda writes:

My worldview is to follow the evidence wherever it leads. My worldview is that the scientific method, as embodied in methodological naturalism, is the only way to assess and best describe objective truths about our universe. It is all very well to have a worldview. What matters is comparing that to the actual world and making sure that the two are in agreement.

This i can understand. Here is worldviews according to Arphy :
When we see things like fossils in the ground one could come up with a nearly infinite number of reasons as to how they got there e.g. One could claim that someone put them there somehow, or that they grew there somehow, or some aliens visited earth and somehow managed to with highly advanced technology to somehow insert them into the earth (I'm just making these up as i go). However we reject all these, why? We can't directly refute them. however we choose to reject them because they are sound unreasonable and unsatisfactory. Methodological naturalists would add the description of history given in the bible as another example that sounds unreasonable. They believe it is reasonable to take the assumption that everything can be explained with naturalistic reasons (i.e. excluding the supernatural). Biblical creationists believe that to explain everything with naturalistic reasons is not reasonable. What we do find reasonable is to believe a book that claims to give an eyewitness account of the history of the world. Now that we have our presuppositions that we find reasonable we can now interpret the evidence in the light of these worldviews. But obviously they can't both be right. So now we must look at the evidence. Is some of the evidence in contradiction? We may try to explain these away at first, however eventually we may find that if there are too many contradictions, that become too difficult to explain away, so that we find it unreasonable to continue to hold the worldview that we have. At that point we should discard our worldview and rethink and then choose a worldview/presupposition that does seem reasonable.

Magda's position (i am assuming that you are either an athiest or at most an agnostic) at least seems consistent. However, sorry bluejay, your position doesn't seem to be either reasonable nor logical. The reason i say this is because in accepting evolution (and common descent) it seems that you have a methodological naturalist worldview. However, this would seem incorrect because you say you are a christian and therefore i assume that you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as his other supernatural works. It seems that you like to jump between the two worldviews, which i think is an illogical position. Also i am again assuming that as a thiestic evolutionist you probably believe that God created first life. Yet God has never claimed, in the bible or elsewhere that he created a single celled organism (or multiple single-celled organisms if you like) from which all animals and plants are descended. In which case your argument becomes "methodological naturalism has not come to a consensus on this issue therefore i think God did it". This sort of position will not only seem unreasonable to people who hold a methodological naturalist worldview, but also to people who hold a biblical worldview. To just say god-did-it to everything until the naturalists reach a consensus on the issue, I find unreasonable.

bluejay writes:

That depends. By definition, evolution requires some degree of common descent (if nothing was related to anything else, then what, exactly, has evolved?). Usually, “common descent” means everything evolved from a single common ancestor, but, if your idea is that there were originally a dozen ancestral species, or a hundred... I don’t see why this couldn’t still be “evolutionism.”

But, if your idea is that God created everything a few thousand years ago, and that evolution can only allow a little bit of speciation, this certainly would not be accurately referred to as “evolutionism.”

so long periods of time are essential for evolutionism. If not why not? I really don't see how common descent and long periods are NOT the hard-core issues. Believeing these seem vital if you want to be called an evolutionist.

I definatly don't think this is just semantics. I want you to recognise what you believe and why you believe it. If you can't understand why you think the way you do, then you just become another person spouting someone elses worldview, without understanding it yourself.

Again, apologies that i was this harsh on you bluejay, but i think it had to be done. It is my hope that you will understand what you believe and why you believe it. Keep seeking for the truth and test every idea to see if these things be so.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 123 by Blue Jay, posted 09-24-2009 1:19 AM Blue Jay has responded

Replies to this message:
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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 126 of 210 (525642)
09-24-2009 4:39 AM
Reply to: Message 125 by PaulK
09-24-2009 4:25 AM

Re: To my numerous opponents
I think it is quite clear which side has a reasonable position, and which does not.
In your opinion, which is my whole point.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by PaulK, posted 09-24-2009 4:25 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 130 of 210 (525675)
09-24-2009 8:20 AM
Reply to: Message 115 by Granny Magda
09-22-2009 10:53 PM

Re: Worldviews vs The World
Your first part i have addressed in my reply to bluejay.

PRATTs: Creationists would say the same thing.

I have a feeling that understand YEC perfectly well. In fact, I suspect that I understand it rather better than you do. No offence.

Just because you have been debating it longer doesn't mean i have nothing to bring, you saying that I should just give up? If you give this reason to every one who disagrees with your position then there would be nobody to debate and then this forum becomes pointless. Also there are many creation scientists who have been in the debate longer than you, do you claim to have a better understanding of evolution than them as well?

Linnaeus: Just because you classify an animal based on its characteristics does not mean that they are related. These classifications do have value for practical purposes, however similar characteristics doesn't immediatly translate to being related.

You guys often object to being described as apes, but you never seem to object to us being classified as vertebrates.
This is because this is used as an attempt to further propagate the idea that we are related to actual apes.

Just take a look at the Answers in Genesis “Arguments We Don’t Use" page. I assure you, for each of those bad arguments, there will be another creationist group which regards it as true, or even as an important tenet of faith.
Firstly i said YEC not just creationist, and I don't think there are too many groups like that.

Henry morris: In the article just below your quote there is a quote from colin Patterson. Did patterson really believe that no new "species" have been produced by natural selection? While i agree it is confusing, i think that the word species was used in a "fundamentally different species" sense. Here (http://www.icr.org/a.../do-new-species-demonstrate-darwinism) on the same website they explain this. Which i think justifies the use of the word in the article. (just before you complain that i want you to read another link, i just posted the link, because in a sense it is ICR's job to defend this sentence from Morris, not mine.)

Syngameon: While the word "kind" is the preferable. I used the word syngameon as the closest description to kind, and possibly what you might accept as "scientific". This word has been used in YEC literature, however while syngameons are the general case for defining a kind, i (and YEC groups) think it is possible that some creatures have "devloved" far enough that they can no longer even form a hybrid.

Noah's Ark: Woodmorappe puts the figure of clean animals at around <1%. This leaves the figure at around 16000 animals on the ark. Note that not every single kind had to have been on the Ark. Many would have survived outside the Ark. The Ark contained land mammals, terrestrial birds, and land reptiles, and possibly some of the amphibians. I think this is perfectly feasible, if you want we can discuss the feasibility of some of the aspects.

Forgive me if I don’t convert to biblical literalism just yet.
Aww what? Just when i thought....

Our genome is degenerating and this is a physical process. While there are many mechanisms that slow down this process the overall effect is degenerative.
I'll just post the conclusion of the article and we can go from there.

Mutations are not uniquely biological events that provide an engine of natural variation for natural selection to work upon and produce all the variety of life. Mutation is the purely physical result of the all-pervading mechanical damage that accompanies all molecular machinery. As a consequence, all multicellular life on earth is undergoing inexorable genome decay because the deleterious mutation rates are so high, the effects of the individual mutations are so small, there are no compensatory beneficial mutations and natural selection is ineffective in removing the damage.

So much damage occurs that it is clearly evident within a single human lifetime. Our reproductive cells are not immune, as previously thought, but are just as prone to mechanical damage as our body cells. Somewhere between a few thousand and a few million mutations are enough to drive a human lineage to extinction, and this is likely to occur over a time scale of only tens to hundreds of thousands of years. This is far short of the supposed evolutionary time scales. Like rust eating away the steel in a bridge, mutations are eating away our genomes and there is nothing we can do to stop them.

foraminifora: Firstly I'm not going to start chasing after bare links either. You say that it is a clear example, well sorry I am not just going to take your word for it. 2nd, the fact that it might be superorder evolution doesn't hold much significance either. 3rd, From a quick look most of these species are still living today.

In fact, it doesn’t even propose a mechanism to provide evidence for. Lame.
Excuse me???
Creationists, including myself,1 have provided a variety of alternative explanations for fossil succession. These include such mechanisms as the sorting of organisms during the Flood, differential escape of organisms during the same, ecological zonation of life-forms in the antediluvian world (such that different life-forms in different strata reflect the serial burial of ecological life-zones during the Flood), and TABs (Tectonically-Associated Biological Provinces—wherein different life forms occur in successive horizons of rock as a reflection of successive crustal downwarp of different life-bearing biogeographic communities).

Instead we see nesting hierarchies of interelatedness, with no species displaying traits that defy an evolutionary model.
The evolutionary model is woven around the animals and fossils we see. Would evolution have had the same model before transitional fossils were found? e.g. was the dino to bird link announced before finding "transitional forms" or after? The basic evolutionary story was woven after the "transitional fossils" were found. So much for predictive power. Yes, some new finds are often forced into the already accepted story, however this doesn't prove evolution's predictive power.

NZ: Yes even kiwis. All examples of speciation that we have observed have always been very rapid. e.g. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v387/n.../387070a0.html , you can also see more examples at http://creation.com/speedy-species-surprise

That’s exactly my point! You weren’t talking about bird evolution. You weren’t talking about whether birds evolved from theropods or directly from archosaurs. You weren’t addressing the actual topic of the quote. You just threw it out there as one of a number of disconnected snipes at the ToE. Nowhere in the original citation do you address the real topic of the quote.

WHAT????? My comments about Archaeopteryx were a direct response to greyseal. When someone brings up an argument FOR Evolution (i.e. if anything, it seemed more like throw a few transitional fossils at a creationist and that will disprove creationism) then shouldn't i reply to this?

If you want to claim to agree with a majority of a <1% minority, you go ahead, but it ain’t much to shout about.
I WILL, thank you very much .

Will deal with tetrapod evolution tomorrow. For now Good-night, or good morning i guess for you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 115 by Granny Magda, posted 09-22-2009 10:53 PM Granny Magda has responded

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 131 of 210 (525678)
09-24-2009 8:29 AM
Reply to: Message 127 by PaulK
09-24-2009 5:01 AM

Re: To my numerous opponents
Mine does not. Therefore my worldview is more reasonable.

Again, in your opinion.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 127 by PaulK, posted 09-24-2009 5:01 AM PaulK has responded

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 141 of 210 (525871)
09-25-2009 4:31 AM

perdition writes:

For example, it is technically a possibility that fossils are the result of aliens placing them in the ground, but if we accept that as the probable answer, we are left trying to explain these aliens, and since we have no evidence for them, we're kind of up a creek.

Exactly. Which is my point. We make assumptions as to which view points are dismissable.

The most parsimonious answer is that it's a natural process
Not necessarily.

and that the patterns we see are real and are an indicator of what really happened

I've put this quote up before and i'll put it up again.

It’s important to note that all reasoning really starts with presuppositions (axioms, i.e. certain things that are taken for granted without being able to prove them). And there’s nothing inappropriately “biased” about that, it’s inevitable, but the question is then whether the presupposition leads to conclusions which support it sufficiently to justify trusting it further, and so on

If you guys think that this does not apply to evolution, that it is somehow exempt from any presuppositions then this just becomes undebateable. You guys see this debate as facts vs superstition, right? And that these facts are not interpreted according to an presuppositions, right? this just seems totally illogical and sorry i just don't buy it. It becomes undebateable because we are no longer comparing two worldviews to see which worldview is supported by the evidence, instead of comparing for example apples with apples, we are trying to compare apples with a tricycle. It just doesn't work. It is undebateable. No wonder people like Archangel come and leave so quickly and it looks like I might not remain much longer either. I'll have a look at the response from this post and decide from there.
See ya.

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 150 of 210 (527681)
10-02-2009 6:50 AM

Hi Guys

I'm back. Went away over the weekend and then spent the week slowly writing out my reply, but I think the break was good and helped cool things down. As Magda said “there's still so much left to discuss” and maybe I have caught the EvC bug, so if things get a bit heated don't mind me if I go off and pout for a few days. From your replies it seems like I am not just a complete walk over, which is good .

Also an apology to bluejay, maybe I was a bit hasty with my assumptions (as my brother likes to say “when you assume you make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”), these assumptions can be made with many evangelical christians, also to be fair I am not an expert on mormonism. I still maintain that I find evangelical christian evolution compromises very illogical and unreasonable but that might be another debate.

Worldviews: Natural causes the most parsimonious?
Let's take the example of abiogenesis, where no consensus opinion really exists on how it happened. Now if no consensus is reached in 100 years will science somehow no longer try to find a sufficient natural explanation? No probably not. If you take the attitude that natural explanations are the most parsimonious, and are constantly hoping for that elusive naturalistic explanation for abiogenesis, then i don't think this is exactly a good example of occam's razor. I think the answer is obvious (intelligent design), and it takes just as much faith, maybe even more, to believe that one day a sufficient naturalistic explanation, with good supporting evidence will somehow replace a supernatural explanation. And even if a consensus is reached does this automatically make it the most parsimonious just because it is a naturalistic explanation?

perdition writes:

You're right, evolution rests of presuppositions and axioms. These presuppositions are:

1) What we see in the world is, in fact, an accurate reflection of reality.

2) Logic is a valid method for deriving conclusions.

3) The scientific method is a valid method for deriving conclusions where pure logic does not work. (The scientific method itself rests largely on premise 2, but that's sort of beside the point.)

4) Occam's Razor is a valid method for determining which, of competing explanations, is most worthy of looking into. (Again, this rests largely on 2, but there it is.)

Well that's just great. You do realise from where these presuppositions historically come from? That's right, from scientists who had a biblical worldview.

Loren Eiseley stated:

‘The philosophy of experimental science … began its discoveries and made use of its methods in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a creator who did not act upon whim nor interfere with the forces He had set in operation… It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption.’


So yes there are some presuppositions that you have left out. Unfortunatly, you don't seem to want to talk about those.

In message 137 bluejay you attack me again on saying that common descent is not hard-core yet there is no mention of my comment that long ages are also hard-core. So what happens when you lose both?

As for mechanisms that we see working today like natural selection, genetic drift, etc, yes, i make the assumption that these mechanisms operated in the past, as shown above creationists believe that there is an order to the universe and that God has put natural laws in place to maintain this order, and if God does interfere with this it is for a specific purpose not just on whim.

Now on to Magda's post (140)

Frankly, yes. A kid with a standard high school biology textbook understands evolution better than most of those bozos.
Well thank you (sarcastic comment)!

The more important point here though is that by undermining something as essential as taxonomy, you are actually attacking the essential tools of science. Taxonomy is important. you seem to want to throw it out where it contradicts your religious dogmas. That's unacceptable.
What? Read what I actually said
arphy writes:

These classifications do have value for practical purposes, however similar characteristics doesn't immediatly translate to being related.

And anyway it depends on what sort of taxonomy you are talking about. If Rank-based classification (linnaeus' classification system) then this makes no evolutionary claims. Cladistics is toxonomy according to phylogeny which is different and I do not agree with this type of taxonomy.

As for apes you are arguing from a cladistics viewpoint

I used the word syngameon as the closest description to kind, and possibly what you might accept as "scientific".

Using sciencey-sounding terminology doesn't mean you are doing science.

Great, so creationists are not allowed to come up with any terminology (again sarcastic). Also maybe a better way of saying it is that syngameon-ity is a qualifier for classifying which animals belong to a kind. Probably the best qualifier to be used on living species.

No we can't perform hybridization experiments on fossils, so no we are not just make up a phylogentic classification system based on the species we think might have hybridized. We might point to evidence that suggests that two species might have been syngameons, however we don't present this as conclusive proof. I don't see why you have a problem with this, after all animals are often reclassified. I'll just add this as well

Based on the Biblical criterion for kinds, creationists deduce that as long as two creatures can hybridize with true fertilization, the two creatures are (i.e. descended from) the same kind. 6 Also, if two creatures can hybridize with the same third creature, they are all members of the same kind.7 The hybridization criterion is a valid operational definition, which could in principle enable researchers to list all the kinds. The implication is one-way—hybridization is evidence that they are the same kind, but it does not necessarily follow that if hybridization cannot occur then they are not members of the same kind (failure to hybridize could be due to degenerative mutations). After all, there are couples who can’t have children, and we don’t classify them as a different species, let alone a different kind.

Using 1% clean animals as our base, that still leaves us with 6040 mammals. That's just the mammals!
"Genus" does not equal "kind".
As for the feasibility of the ark, maybe we could discuss it some other time as we have quite a few topics already. Yip, there really is much to discuss, and I'd preferably like to discuss everything at once. Unfortunatly though this is somewhat impractical as well as annoying the mods and anybody trying to follow the debate However if you really want to discuss the feasibility of Noah's ark, we can.

As for who was on the ark:
genesis 7:21-23
21 ¶ And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

Note it says the the things on the ground, also insects are not included on the ark because animals with "the breath of life" generally refers to animals who breath air through nostrils.

Granny writes:
In fact, it doesn’t even propose a mechanism to provide evidence for. Lame.

Excuse me???

What I said. They provide only sound-bites. They offer no substance. They throw out terms like "the sorting of organisms during the Flood" without ever expaining how that is supposed to work.

hmm...You said that they didn't propose any mechanisms. They did, they even included breif descriptions of some of them. If you want to go into how these mechanisms work then sure we can do that too if you want.

Humans: So out of all the animals apes morphologically are closest to humans. However the transitional fossils for ape-like to human-like are again another thing that we could debate.

The basic evolutionary story was woven after the "transitional fossils" were found.

You seem to be upset that scientists, as well as making predictions, also like to wait to see where the evidence leads them. This is not a failing, it is an asset. Scientists don't just make things up as they go along. they make predictions only to test them against the emerging evidence. they may also reserve their opinions pending relevant evidence. This is how science works and a good thing too.

Sure, but i still think that the basic story follows findings of animals that have an unusual set of attributes that are not commonly found together. These can't be predicted, and that these animals exist speak as much to a creator working in modules as to a common descent evolutionary model.

kiwis: Ahhh, I'm a super-evolutionist!
Your surprise at things like this to me show that maybe you can still learn a few things from me about the creation model.
And I did give evidence!!! Two articles!! A note in the references of the 2nd article particularly caught my eye.

Evolutionists have invented a unit called the ‘darwin’ for measuring the speed of change in the form (body size, leg length, etc.) of a species. In the case of the Anolis sagrei lizards, the rate of change ranged up to 2,117 darwins—whereas evolutionists had only ‘measured’ rates of 0.1 to 1.0 darwins over the ‘millions of years in the fossil record’. For the guppies in Trinidad, the rates were even higher: from 3,700 to 45,000 darwins. Artificial selection experiments on laboratory mice show rates of up to 200,000 darwins.

As for feduccia, I see it like this: It does throw cold water on its status as a transitiona fossil, because if birds didn't evolve from feathered dinosaurs but some other reptile as Feduccia says. Then the only other prominent evolutionary theory is Feduccia's theory which really doesn't have much backing in evidence at all. So, yes, I learnt a bit more about his quotes through this debate and maybe I didn't quite use it as appropriatly as i should havunderstand them as well as I first thought, however when i look through the articles it seems if there was a fault it was more with me than the articles.

forams: Even if it is at the superorder level, so what? The argument still exists that they are still forams and distinictively so. Your picture shows forams from the families Globigerinoides and Orbulina which shows what? That there is little difference between the two families and which may be a kind"? Also forams are highly adaptable or "plastic" i.e. are easily able to mold to their environment. Will continue to research this but for the moment am happy with above.

You might also like to explain in detail exactly how (if the ToE is false) it came to be found in exactly the place that the ToE predicted it would be found.
The researchers didn't just search in one place. They located fish fossil graveyards (why they exist is another question that you might want to ask yourself). What they found was a fish (yah, yipee) With some more unusually features to be sure but not anything worthy of saying that it was an ancestor of tetrapods (fins which are not connected to the body which allows very little weight being put on them and some other unusual features somewhat reminescent of lungfish).

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 155 of 210 (530356)
10-13-2009 6:13 AM

Hi everyone

I now have the complete transcript and audio of Collin Patterson's lecture from which i quoted from. Not sure what to do with it seeing i can't really stick the whole thing up here. I can go through it and try to summarize what it says, unfortunatly you will have to trust that I am giving a balanced interpretation. Or you could check out the quotes that I used and I'll put them into a wider context.

In this post i am going to try to refocus things back to the main topics.

Transitional fossils: Now reading through the transcript Colin Patterson's speech, I think I begin to understand what is happening. As many of you have pointed in some cases there seem to be morphological features in some animals which when placed next to other animals with similar morphological features you could possibly create a line of animals where these features are arranged into progressive steps. However which features do you pick? The ones that fit the best story? One basic example might be that the common theory says that birds evolved from reptiles, but this is because certain features are picked. If we picked as a major feature warm-bloodedness as a feature the evolutionary tree would look quite different with birds evolving from mammals. So what happens the most parsimonious answer is taken and for the remaining features that don't fit into the picture convergent evolution is invoked. Also teeth was an important feature of Archaeopteryx but firstly they were not reptilian teeth, and also some fossil birds had teeth some didn't, some reptiles have teeth, some don't, some mammals have teeth, some don't. And then we have another bird fossil Confuciusornis sanctus initially dated at the same age as Archaeopteryx, yet it is clearly a bird and has beak as most birds have today. So what do we do? Do we shift Archaeopteryx foward,or sanctus back? But now we are just playing round with the facts to suit our purposes. These are the types of problems that exist with most transitional forms, namely that while they have some features that are "supposed" to be there, they also have features that are not supposed to be there. Also, have we found any intermediate features? by that i mean, most of these transitional features seem to be fully formed and functional and not half way (i.e. halfway between reptile skin and feathers, halfway between teeth and no teeth, etc.)

Also another thought on feduccia on birds, while i recognise that feduccia thinks that Archaeopteryx has some morphological features so that it can be placed into a reptile-bird lineage (note again depending on which features are highlighted different evolutionary paths are theorised), it is such that it is clearly a bird and in classification should not be placed under reptiles.

And now we come to Patterson's problem with cladistics. While he believes that there are quite clear lineages when using morphological characters: From "Can you tell me anything about evolution" Transcript of Colin Patterson's November 1981 presentation at the American Museum of Natural History, New york City.

"well, back in 1978, Gary Nelson suggested - I'm quoting him - "The concept of evolution is an extrapolation, or interpretation, of the orderliness of ontogeny."

So far as i know, at the morphological level, that's still true. And as Gary said, it's von Baer's law that ontogeny moves from the general to the particular, that is behind the transformations we invoke in morphology, and behind systematic hierarchy built on those morphological characters.

Now, of course, all the characters - the transformations - we invoke are not directly observed in ontogeny, but i think you'll find that every transformation that is inferred is congruent with von baer's law, with characters tied to von baer's law. So at the morphological level we have a sound concept of homology and we have ontogeny to help us in ordering homologies. Morphology or, in the most general terms, the phenotype, is the highest level of investigation in systematics."

Now having laid this ground work Patterson goes the next level down of paralogy which is the molecular version of serial homology in morphology. He then goes through many examples of comparing DNA data with morphological data stressing the point that the cladistical outcome is very different depending on what approach you take. And this is where we come to the problem. Because:

"Now if the general theory of evolution is testable , it must have some consequence that can be confronted with reality. In other words, it must make some prediction. And as far as i know only one sensible prediction has been offered.

Niles Eldridge put it like this in a letter to Science:

If evolution is descent with modification, a hierachical array of organisms defined by nested sets of evolutionary novelties must result. This is evolution's grand prediction.

And then Niles went on to say that whatever organism you look at, whatever aspects of it you study, you find the same hierachy. And I've heard this same point repeatedly at meetings, that there really is a hierarchy, and there can be no hierarchy without history, and therefore the prediction of evolution is met.

Well the first thing that strikes me about this is that it seems to imply that evolution is a deductive inference from the systematic hierarchy, that people like Linnaeus and Cuvier and Agassiz and Johannes Muller and Hooker and a thousand other pre-Darwinians were merely poor thinkers, that they failed to see the necessary consequence of their observations. Now that seems improbable.

The second thing concerns the prediction that whatever aspect of organisms you look at, you find the same hierarchy. Well, not everyone seems to agree with that. Here's Ernst Mayr again in Science last week:

Different types of characters - morphological characters, chromosomal differences, enzyme genes, regulatory genes, and DNA matching - may lead to rather different grouping. Different stages in life cycles may also result in different groupings.

So maybe what evolved into what is not so clear cut. If the details are not clear cut why should the big picture (everything evolved from a common ancestor) be so obvious?

It doesn't get any better throughout his talk. Shall i go on?

Here we go:

So what about this molecular level or the level of protein and DNA Sequences? How do we recognize the hierarchy there? First of all, the concept of homology is much vaguer at those levels, and we don't have ontogeny and von Baer's law to guide us.

Now i suggested in commenting on the DNA data that the hierarchy is recognized by massaging the data with evolutionary theory. You put it through a program that's based on evolutionary theory, and naturally you get a hierarchy out. I wonder if the data is hierachial without massage of that sort? I don't know. But at the protein sequence level where i have played a lot, my impression is that it is strongly hierarchical when you have a few sequences, or when you've selected them, so that you are just doing five or six taxon problems. But when you take a big set of data, like all the myoglobins that are now avaliable, my experience is that the hierarchy simply melts away unless you force it by massaging it with evolutionary theory.

Don't know if i need to add much more to that.

Now to the latest replies:

PaulK: I hope the main points have been addressed in a round about way above.

Perdition: I haven't seen any definitions that say that parsimonious means invoking the least number of external agents. Most of them say things like the least complex, or "economy of explanation in conformity with Occam's razor" from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parsimony.

Sure, but it's irrational to assume that point is here until we've exhausted all other avenues.

And when will these be exhausted?

Why would we turn our back on a method with such a great track record?

Yip, why would we? But it seems that you think modern creationists have.

bring them here if you can think of any and we'll debate them or add them to the list.

ok how about:

-The assumption that stratigraphic order is because organisms started of simple and then evolved into complex forms.

-The assumption that layers of rocks are layed down progressively over vast periods time and the landscape is shaped predominantly by slow gradual processes.

-The assumption that radiometric clocks and the assumptions made in reading them are constant.

-The assumption that "transitional" features in organisms are because of common ancestry.

-The assumption that degenerative processes such as mutations have been the cause for producing increasingly complex organisms over vast periods of time.

That should do for now, but now we are also getting off topic (although some of the assumptions are on topic).


And yet, morphological classifications agree very closely with genetic similarities. Genetic similarities do suggest relatedness. Or should we abandon genetically based paternity tests?

See above quotes from Patterson.

And yet the nested hierarchies of similarity which Linnaen taxonomy reveals are in perfect accord with the ToE.

They are also generally in accord with the Creation model. As I said this type of classification makes no claim about evolutionary paths. It groups organisms into morphological similarities.

Syngameon: Yeah, that definition is also good. species like a zebra and a horse won't interbreed usually, but it does sometimes happen if the circumstances are right. Is this not natural? hmmm.... experiments don't count only observed events of syngameonity in the organisms natural environment count?

I'd say genus is generally the minimum. I think that whatever species you take there will be another species with which it can form a hybrid.

It says that "every creeping thing" died. That is a very clear reference to invertebrates.

umm... no. A lot of insects fly, also insects aren't the only things that "creep". I think you are thinking in terms of "insects are creepy crawly" imagary. Anyway, insects don't "breath" as other animals breath i.e. through nostrils.

Do you want to add Ardi to the discussion? Btw, it is not "new". The bones were found in 1994, they just did a re-analysis which has got everyone hyped up again.

Tiktaalik: To say that lobe-finned fish have the beginings of tetrapod legs seems ridiculous, because in living lobe-finned fish these features are highly adapted to a deft swimming action. That they found a fish amongst other fish even if in the "time gap" in which "transitional" forms should be according to the theory, doesn't mean much until you can show that it is "transitional". So please explain why the features of tiktaalik are transitional. Also came across this in an article which which i think is an interesting point made in relation to the Tiktaalik prediction.

Much has been made of the fossil’s being just what palaeontologists would have expected to find – even just what they did expect to find. The scientists who discovered Tiktaalik went to Ellesmere Island purposely looking for intermediates between Panderichthys and the first tetrapods, and they were not disappointed. However, we have seen that in many respects the fossil was surprising.

As it happens, a very explicit prediction was made in the pages of Nature four months earlier (22 December 2005), when Catherine Boisvert was discussing the pelvic fin and girdle of Panderichthys:

The pelvic girdle is even less tetrapod-like than that of … Eusthenopteron, but the pelvic fin … shares derived characteristics with basal tetrapods despite being more primitive than the pectoral fin of Panderichthys. The evolution of tetrapod locomotion appears to have passed through a stage of body-flexion propulsion, in which the pelvic fins played a relatively minor anchoring part, before the emergence of hindlimb-powered propulsion in the interval between Panderichthys and Acanthostega.

What Boisvert is saying here is that Panderichthys had ‘front-wheel drive’: its front fins were bigger and more powerful than its rear fins. However, the early tetrapods were ‘rear-wheel drive’. Consequently, evolution theory predicted that the emergence of hindlimb-powered propulsion would be seen in the interval between Panderichthys and Acanthostega. Tiktaalik fails that prediction. Indeed, it was more of a ‘front-wheel drive’ animal than Panderichthys was.


super-evolution (which seems to mysteriously no longer occur)

umm... I'm sure I gave some examples of rapid speciation. Have a look at some previous posts.

Because this level of evolution goes beyond genus or family. It forces your definition of "kind" way up. Now you have no excuse for not placing humans and chimps in the same kind. Hell, that places monkeys in the same kind as us.

The point is that a kind can not be pinned down to any man-made classification. A kind does not = family or order or genus. A kind may be at any of those levels depending on the organism and the way it was classified.

Finally Bluejay:

Specifically, I would have to change my views on the rate at which mutations occur.

This really is streching things. So even if theoretically you started believeing in an earth that is 6000 years old you would just that the whole process from bacteria to man was just a lot faster than you thought? What would the geologists have to say about this? The speed of evolution and evolution in general has an effect on other disciplines outside of biology.

We can see patterns in trait distribution across multiple generations of a single family.

I think this is answered in the the patterson quotes. Yes, we do see patterns in closely related organisms , however this becomes less discernable in what are seen as more distantly related organisms.

Sorry, this was a long time coming, when i've been on here i've tended to spend more time reading (the topics in which calypsis has posted have been quite interesting and entertaining) than writing. Ah well, hopefully the above makes for interesting reading anyway.

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Added more blank lines. My "philosophy" is never hit "enter" once, always hit it twice. I think there might be some foul-ups in a couple of quote boxes, but I'm not going to mess with those.

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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 169 of 210 (531072)
10-16-2009 2:00 AM
Reply to: Message 166 by greyseal
10-15-2009 12:58 PM

Re: hi again arphy!
First have to say a big thanks to percy, his replies have been very good.

One thing to note is that you (greyseal) seem intent on portraying patterson as a man who believes exactly the same things about evolution as you do. This is just not true. Not all evolutionists believe everything equally. And yes, I think it is safe to say that even evolutionists have doubts sometimes. To try to make patterson fit into a nice wee box of what an evolutionist should believe, is just wrong.

About the transcript:
Firstly, nobody knows if it was a creationist who taped the unauthorized version (which contains some errors and is missing the entire discussion section) or not, that is just conjecture. But yes, the speech wasn't exactly "evolution friendly".
The copy of the transcript I have at home was taped by Wayne Friar who had his microphone set up in plain view in the front row. This transcript and audio also contains the discusson section at the end. btw i got the link to the ARN website which distributes the full transcript from the CMI website.

I believe what has happened has been that every crank and creationist has taken what they perceive at face value and presented it as something that the speaker himself denies he meant.

Rubbish, especially when you listen to the audio. In the discussion section it is especially noticeable that he had wound up some of the other evolutionists present. And what do you mean he might have been lying. You really think he did a whole speech full of lies that he did not believe in himself, just to wind up the other evolutionists present. Sorry, now your excuses are becoming a bit too incredible.
Not only that, even in the link to ARN that you provide you seem to have only read the part about the unauthorized transcripts without noticing that the rest of the article is not a glowing endorsement for evolution.

His later comments fit in well with what he was saying in his speech. again Please stop trying to fit patterson into the box that you want him to fit into.

Sorry, this has been a bit of a rant, I was hoping that what percy was saying would be enough but you just seem to want to keep on going.



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Member (Idle past 3062 days)
Posts: 185
From: New Zealand
Joined: 08-23-2009

Message 170 of 210 (531077)
10-16-2009 2:42 AM
Reply to: Message 168 by Blue Jay
10-15-2009 11:49 PM

Hi bluejay

Yip i did realise that and maybe I didn't qualify the quote as well as i should have. Maybe I should have added that while tiktaalik may not fail the prediction it certainly doesn't fulfill the prediction. Once a complete skeleton of Tiktaalik is found this could bring some surprising results. What would happen if it didn't have a hint of any kind of transitional hind legs? What did the tail look like? This is a different point but, why is Tiktaalik trumpeted as a transitional fossil when any day the complete fossil could turn up and possibly show something completly different from what was expected?

But yeah, i basically agree with the rest of your post, I was a bit hasty.

although now I come to think of it. At least comparatively Tiktaalik might be more "front-wheel drive" than Pandericthys. Depends also if the assertion "Indeed, it was more of a ‘front-wheel drive’ animal than Panderichthys was." is based on comparing the two front fins or on comparing hind fins with no(?) hind fins. The article doesn't say, which isn't particularly helpful.

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